Tuesday, 9 June 2009


Maciel Cicchetti trimming onboard Telefonica Black, on leg 8 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Galway to Marstrand. Image copyright AntonPazTelefonica Black/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Roger Nilson (navigator)

What a great day for us on Telefónica Black..! ‘The Blackies’ are in the lead after a good strategic move and really good crew work. Among other things we survived with 42 knots of wind having our biggest gennaker flying, an act of balance.

Our strategy was to stay south in the English Channel, prognosis indicated more wind there, and we passed close south of Bishop Rock on Scilly Isles, this morning. Green Dragon did the same and was actually 17 nm ahead of us at Scilly. After Scilly, Dragon went more north and we stayed south. When we met later in the day we were ahead of them, what a surprise!

All the other boats, all ahead of us at Fastnet Rock, went north of Scilly and had very little breeze along the English coast. Good for us!

In the afternoon we could see the whole fleet as they popped up, one by one, on the horizon behind us. They had been forced to take a bad gybe away from England to reach our more favourable area further south, closer to France.

Right now we are in a close battle with Dragon and Ericsson 3, both very close behind. Every time we gybe to port, in the light westerly, we soon lose the wind. We gybe back to starboard, going south east, and soon we find the wonderful power that makes us move over the ocean.

Yesterday it all started with a bit of shock for us on Telefónica Black. After a wonderful stay in Volvo Ocean Race fanatical Galway, we were met by an ice cold, fresh north easterly wind at the start line. A big contrast to the last hot, sunny week in town!

Fernando Echávarri made a brilliant start, full speed over the line with our A3 gennaker. But the joy did not last long. Soon we were rolled by the whole fleet as our Achilles heel again started hurting. Our downwind, running speed in 20 knots plus is not good.

In the very beautiful and spectacular area just west of Blasket Sound, we made a shortcut inside some islands. That move put us closer to the other boats, all more offshore. Still we had to accept a last place around Fastnet Rock, 37 minutes behind leading Dragon who had sailed superb race since the start.

Looks light and tricky during the coming night with a good chance of a compression of the fleet. Our old low is dying and a new fresh low is being delivered from the Atlantic to give as an upwind ride to Holland. See you there!

Volvo Ocean Race

No comments: